What, No Queen?

You would think that countries with such Royal histories would apply more Royal titles to bed sizes than a country that has never had a Royal Family – but that is not the case. European mattress sizes are single, double, king and super king. Super king? US sizes are twin, double, queen and king. See, we have the matched Royal set – Queen and King – they have two kings!

There are differences in bed sizes between the US/Canada and the United Kingdom and Europe. Yes, that is correct. Not only do they drive on the opposite side in the UK from the rest of Europe, but they also have different sized mattresses.

  • We call it a Twin, but it is a Single in the UK and Europe. Ours is 3 inches wider, the European is 3 inches longer. I like the name Single instead of Twin because it goes so well with the next size, Double, although a Double is not twice the width of a Single.
  • We call it a Double and that is also what they call it in the UK and Europe! And they are almost the same sizes in all three places. A US Double is the same size in the UK, but is 1 inch wider and 3 inches longer in Europe.
  • Now we get to the tricky bit. We call it a Queen, but in the UK and Europe it is called a King. They don’t have a Queen size. And their King is almost the same size as our Queen (2 inches shorter in the UK, 3 inches wider and 2 inches shorter in Europe).
  • We call it a King or an Eastern King (plus we have that whole California King thing), but in the UK they call it a Super King and in Europe they do not have an equivalent. Our King is 4 inches wider and 2 inches longer than the UK Super King.
Double Bed
Double bed in a very small room

Who cares, you say? When you walk into your vacation rental hoping to spread out on a huge, luxurious King bed, only to find out that in Europe a King is a Queen, then you care! Remember, many vacation rentals in Europe are in lovely, renovated, historic buildings and a large bed just won’t fit into that bedroom – as in the photo above showing our bedroom in a charming cottage in the Cotswolds.

US/Canada United Kingdom Europe
Twin – 39 x 75 in Single – 36 x 75 in
(90 x 190 cm)
Single – 36 x 78 in
(90 x 200 cm)
Double/Full – 54 x 75 in Double – 54 x 75 in
(135 x 190 cm)
Double – 55 x 78 in
(140 x 200 cm)
Queen – 60 x 80 in King – 60 x 78 in
(150 x 200 cm)
King – 63 x 78 in
(160 x 200 cm)
Eastern King – 76 x 80 in Super King – 72 x 78 in
(180 x 200 cm)

About.com for US sizes. John Lewis for UK sizes.

Published by

Pauline Kenny

Pauline Kenny and Steve Cohen are US expats living in Dorset. We moved to the UK in 2010. Read about our move. If you would like to talk about travel, please join us on the Slow Europe Travel Forums.

9 thoughts on “What, No Queen?”

  1. My parents had a California King bed. Sometimes on windy and stormy winter nights when CalTrans called my dad out to work, my sister and brother and I would climb into bed with my mom. There was plenty of room for all of us! 🙂

  2. Personally, I don’t like a King – too big. I lose Chris in it. Queen works for me. I hate though when a rental says the room is for two but has a double. Personally, I don’t think two can fit comfortably in a double.

    So I have to ask, why is this tagged tomato?

  3. Thank you for clarifying this! Finally, it’s been explained to me. I’m printing this out right now.

  4. I am looking at Cotswold cottages and was getting confused on the descriptions of beds, so decided to figure it out and document it! When I moved in with Steve – 28 years ago!! – he had a King and I made him get rid of it because it was too big. We slept in a Queen until recently when middle-age-warming hit me and we decided I needed more room (plus Buddy hogs the bed). So we got a King and I love it – so much room, such luxury (we got an organic cotton Royal Pedic – incredible)! I keep thinking, do I really want to leave this bed behind and go sleep on a lesser bed somewhere?

    The post was originally called Tomato/Tomahto because this is just another example of things we do differently in the US from how it is done in Europe. Decided to tag it that instead. 🙂

  5. I am, too, very confused with the bedding/accomodations options on the european web sites.
    For ex., I’ve been researching hotels & B&B’s in Italy for 2 rooms, one for 2 persons and 1 for one person, when I click on “availability”, all this crazy options pop out. Here is a small sample:
    1 Double single use + 1 Double/Twin room long stay
    1 Single Room – Halfboard Included + 1 Double/Twin room long stay
    1 single + 1 Double/Twin room long stay
    What in the world does a “double single use: mean? And what is a “Double/Twin”? (besides an oxymoron! LOL)

  6. I think that “double single use” means a room for two people, but being used by one person. And “double/twin” means a room with either a double bed or two singles (twins). “Single Room” would be a room for one person with a single sized bed.

    Halfboard refers to meals taken at the B&B, but I don’t know what “long stay” means.

    This would be a good question to ask on the Slow Travel Forums – http://www.slowtalk.com.

  7. Thanks Pauline!

    I think I “got it” this time.

    So, what they mean by “1 double single use + 1double/twin room”, is that they are offering us a double room for the single person in our group PLUS a room with either a double or 2 single beds for the couple.
    Whew!
    So glad I found you!

  8. Long live the King! Or the queen! We have always had a king-size, which is great…room to flop over and really sleep with disturbing (or being disturbed!) by your partner. We have been in some pretty small doubles, more like a single and a half and end up not getting much sleep as we are constantly kicking or head-butting each other!

    By the way, HAPPY (belated) BIRTHDAY!!

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